8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10
The last evacuation orders in the state, affected Georgetown and Horry counties, were lifted Monday morning, allowing coastal residents to return to their homes. Other evacuation orders were lifted on Sunday.
Hurricane Matthew churned along the S.C. coast Saturday, downing trees and powerlines, flushing ocean water into city streets and leaving hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians without power.
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6:10 p.m., Clearing roads next big task
Evacuation orders could be lifted for many parts of the storm-riddled state on Sunday, Gov. Nikki Haley said at a news conference. However, much work remains to clear roadways before people affected by Hurricane Matthew can return to their homes.
Thre are 6,500 residents in 77 shelters statewide and hundreds of thousands more who left their homes ahead of the storm.
The governor said road damage is particularly heavy in Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton and Allendale counties. Many of the state’s barrier islands also are inaccessible.
Decisions about when evacuees will be allowed to reenter will be made by the S.C. Department of Transportation and local officials and law enforcement, Haley added.
Interstates 20 and 26 are open. Interstate 95 is another matter — the 15-mile section south of the North Carolina border is closed, as is a stretch of the southbound lane near Ridgeland in the Lowcountry. Trees have been cleared from I-95, Haley said, but the closed portions are still flooded.
Roads along the I-95 corridor will be cleared for Beaufort and Jasper counties beginning with U.S. 278 and moving northward, to U.S. 17, U.S. 21 and S.C. 170
National Guardsmen and law enforcement are guarding areas where evacuations are ordered and where power is out.
Though the coast absorbed the brunt of Matthew’s force, the storm caused damage across a wider swath. Statewide, 833,627 customers are without electricity.
Haley said that Hurricane Matthew knocked down a lot of trees and power lines but that structural damage caused by the storm seems minimal. However, three dams failed — two in Dillon County and one in Lexington County, Haley said.
The rain is tapering but strong winds linger. In fact, a 74 mph gust was recorded at the Myrtle Beach Airport shortly before Haley’s news conference.
The strongest recorded wind was a gust of 88 mph on Hilton Head Island. The tide gauge at Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River notched a new record, and the water level in the Charleston Harbor was at one point the third-highest ever recorded.
Ten to 15 inches of rain fell across the Lowcountry, Pee Dee and Grand Strand. About 5 to 9 fell in the Midlands.
4:39 p.m.: Local governments set curfews
Several municipalities and counties along the S.C. coast imposed curfews as Hurricane Matthew roared by South Carolina on Saturday.
Charleston and Williamsburg counties have set 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfews. Myrtle Beach has a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Jasper County’s curfew is 8 p.m. to “daylight.”
Florence and Beaufort county residents have a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew. Georgetown residents have an 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew. And Berkeley County residents are ordered to stay indoors from midnight to 6 a.m.
4:24 p.m. More South Carolinians without power
The number of homes that have lost power during Hurricane Matthew continues to grow. More than 762,000 homes are without power as of 4 p.m., according to the S.C. Emergency Management Division.
That number has grown steadily, but rapidly, as the storm has skirted the S.C. coast.
4:18 p.m.: Springmaid pier destroyed
At Myrtle Beach, people by mid-afternoon began visiting the popular Springmaid pier, which was destroyed by the storm. Among them was Nana Varda, her daughter and granddaughter.
“It’s amazing,” Varda said, “what God can do.”
Her granddaughter said she couldn’t believe what had happened.
“I think it’s crazy,” said Madison Koretzky. “We come here all the time. Now it’s gone.”
Part of the pier still remained. The midsection was blown out, and exposed pilings were all that remained of the end of the pier.
4:14 p.m. Break over for USC students.
USC will return to its normal schedule on Sunday, with all classes resuming on Monday.
The school had canceled all classes Wednesday through Friday in preparation for Hurricane Matthew. USC in a news release urged students to stay home Saturday as emergency crews clear downed trees, power lines and other debris.
USC’s fall break is Oct. 14-15. A USC spokesman said last week the break would not be affected by the storm.
3:48 p.m.: Downed roads in Richland, Lexington counties
By midafternoon in Lexington County, there were 60 state and county roads closed by storm debris, said county spokesman Harrison Cahill.
The bulk of the 15 closed county-maintained roads are in the Swansea area, Cahill said.
County road crews are to pull back at nightfall to one each in Swansea and the town of Lexington, he said.
As the impact of the storm passed, staffing in the county’s emergency operations center was drawn down, the spokesman said.
And in Lower Richland County, there were so many trees down that firefighters had to clear roads to get emergency vehicles through.
“We had to basically cut a path through in order to respond,” Columbia fire chief Aubrey Jenkins said.
3:29 p.m.: Charleston hospitals still up and running
Charleston’s major hospitals say they weathered Hurricane Matthew with no major problems.
“We were in good shape the whole time,” said Tonya Lobbestael, a spokeswoman for the Ralph H. Johnson V.A. Medical Center.
Hospitals saw flooding around Charleston’s medical district, but officials said it was starting to drain around midafternoon Saturday. Several had transferred patients to other facilities or to sister hospitals out of the storm’s path earlier this week.
Several hospitals are operating on generator power, including some that have not lost primary power but want to protect against power surges.
At the Medical University of South Carolina, preliminary damage assessments showed “minor damage for a storm of this size,” including some leaks, according to a spokeswoman.
The V.A. Medical Center and Roper Hospital also had some leaks, but no flooding.
However, Roper Hospital Diagnostics and ER – Northwoods in North Charleston suffered up to four inches of flooding. A spokesman said the hospital is sending a crew as soon as it can and hopes to re-open the facility with no major construction.
3:03 p.m.: Fallen trees in rural Richland County
About a dozen to 15 homes in Lower Richland had trees on their roofs at midafternoon Saturday, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.
Primary roads across the largely rural area remained blocked, including Bluff Road and Lower Richland Boulevard.
“It’s pretty slow going down here,” Lott said.
Still, no injuries had been reported as of 2:45 p.m., he said.
Drivers seeking to maneuver areas in and around Eastover found themselves turning around to find other routes. One woman who had lost power to her home was kept from making it to a relative’s home by a large pine tree across Bluff near Coley Road.
2:29 p.m.: Storm dying down in Garden City
Winds have subsided some at coastal Garden City and Surfside Beach. But many intersections remain flooded with ocean water whipped in by Hurricane Matthew.
No severe damage has been spotted at homes at Surfside Beach, although some homes had damaged pools and decks.
2:27 p.m.: Downed trees in Columbia
Hurricane Matthew brought down about 90 Columbia trees, and city officials are urging residents to allow city crews to handle them, since downed trees may be tangled with live power lines.
Columbia residents can call 803-252-2911 to report downed trees that are blocking streets.
2:26 p.m.: Relief in Charleston
Jamie McAlister, of Charleston, stared down flooded Broad Street, between Franklin and New streets, and said downtown was lucky.
“I expected to have boats in the middle of the street like we had during (Hurricane) Hugo,” McAlister said. “I think we were really lucky.”
McAlister, who lives on Broad Street, rode out the storm overnight. He said at times he worried that he should have left. But eventually he just hit the sack.
“I just went to bed, woke up, and everything was fine,” McAlister said. “I thought it was going to be worse.”
2:21 p.m.: Stormwater along Gills Creek
In the Gills Creek watershed, Spring Lake, which had been pulled down halfway after last year’s flood because of concerns about its dam, was at full stage and overflowing its normal boundaries Saturday afternoon.
Backwater from the lake was backed to the former Cary Lake dam, which broke last October. A creek that runs through the former Cary Lake was a small river Saturday afternoon.
Farther down stream, Gills Creek was a ranging torrent below Lake Katherine.
1:58 p.m. DOT closes prominent Charleston bridge
The S.C. Department of Transportation has closed the Arthur Ravenel Jr. cable-stay bridge until it can complete an engineering inspection.
“The design of the Ravenel Bridge allows for some movement of the bridge elements, but Hurricane Matthew is the bridge’s first exposure to significant storm force winds,” the transportation department said in a statement.
The department’s top bridge engineer recommended an on-site, physical review of the 11-year-old bridge before re-opening it to traffic.
1:53 p.m. Columbia through the worst of it
The worst of the storm is over for Columbia, according to Doug Anderson, a meteorological technician for the National Weather Service in Columbia.
Richland and Lexington counties no longer are at risk for flooding, thanks to Hurricane Matthews’ weakening and northeast migration along the S.C. coast, he said.
But a wind advisory remains for the two counties. Winds will remain at about 25 to 30 mph before dying down slightly to 15 to 20 mph by midnight Saturday, Anderson said.
He predicted light rainfall for the next four or five hours, “and then it will drop off overnight.”
“It’s looking to be a really nice day tomorrow,” Anderson said.
1:25 p.m.: Power outages climbing
The number of homes without power in South Carolina is at 574,000 and climbing, the S.C. Emergency Management Division said.
That number is up from 503,000 at 1 p.m.
1:19 p.m.: Charleston drinking water still safe
Charleston’s drinking water remains safe despite flooding from Hurricane Matthew, the city’s fire department tweeted Saturday afternoon.
1:12 p.m.: Trees down in Lower Richland
Two tenants of a mobile home on Congaree Road in Lower Richland were unhurt when a tree crumpled their roof.
“They’re finer than me,“ said the mobile home owner, who would not provide his name.
The tenants reported the damage to the owner at about 9 this morning, but had left the trailer to get something to eat when the owner was interviewed.
Meanwhile, a man with a tractor equipped with a front-end loader helped the trailer owner push a van that was stuck in muddy soil next to the mobile home. Spurts of mud flew into the air, bur the van was freed.
1:01 p.m.: More without power
More than 503,000 South Carolinians are without power because of Hurricane Matthew, the S.C. Emergency Management Division said.
That figure is up from more than 437,000 at 10 a.m. Saturday.
12:59: Flooding on I-95
Flooding from Hurricane Matthew has shut down Interstate 95 in Dillon County between mile markers 186 and 187, the S.C. Highway Patrol said.
12:43: Storm damages Williams Brice-Stadium signage
Hurricane Matthew apparently did not spare the Gamecocks, who moved their game against Georgia to Sunday because of the storm. Strong winds from the storm damaged the “South Carolina Gamecocks” signage at Williams-Brice Stadium above the upper deck in the west stands.
The letters ‘G,’ ‘C,’ and ‘O’ are now missing from the word “Gamecocks.”
Also, a large tree from a neighbor’s yard fell on USC athletics director Ray Tanner’s home in the Heathwood community. Tanner and his family are fine.
12:12 p.m.: Matthew takes its toll on Richland County trees, power lines
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said his department has received many reports of downed trees and power lines, especially in Lower Richland.
Strong winds from Hurricane Matthew has left several downtown Columbia traffic lights out of commission.
The lights at Assembly Street and Rosewood Drive and at Trenholm Road and Forest Drive were without power. And the intersection of Trenholm Road and Butler Street was impassable because of downed trees.
A railroad crossing bar also is malfunctioning on Assembly Street near the California Dreaming restaurant, forcing drivers to turn onto side streets. The crossing bars are down and the lights are flashing in the driving rain, but there is no train.
In Lower Richland, the Columbia-bound lanes of U.S. 378 at Trotter Road were blocked Saturday morning by a toppled tree.
Workers with chainsaws were clearing the tree about 11:30 a.m. as traffic funneled onto two lanes that normally would carry traffic away from the city.
On Old Eastover Road, firefighters with chainsaws removed a tree that blocked the two-lane blacktop.
“We’re trying to make it passable to at least get fire trucks down here,” said fire Capt. Jason Herbert.
Several roads in the rural part of Richland County are littered with storm debris and power lines are drooped under the weight of bent or broken trees.
12:05 p.m.: No major problems in Lexington County
Lexington County also has widespread debris damage but no injuries, major power outages or major road closings, spokesman Harrison Cahill said.
12:03 p.m.: Matthew moves toward Myrtle Beach
As the storm moved toward Myrtle Beach about 11:45 a.m. Saturday, the lights flickered and went out at Jim Varcadipane’s liquor store in Garden City on the southern Grand Strand.
He was one of the few business people who opened. He said he wanted to protect his store from looters.
“If a window breaks in my store, this is one of the first places people will hit,” he said. ‘’I have two pistols and two shotguns. This place is all I have’’
11:51 a.m.: Flooding in Charleston
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said the city has taken in reports of about 50 downed trees or limbs. Around 100 roadways throughout the city are completely closed due to flooding.
“It’s important for people to stay off the streets,” Mullen said.
One of the key areas affected overnight was the city’s medical district, where the Medical University of South Carolina, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and Roper St. Francis Hospital are based.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said first responders had to divert patients to other hospitals overnight because of flooding around the district.
“The medical district has a lot of water,” Teckleburg said. “We need to see how fast the water is going to recede in the medical district, but there’s serious localized flooding all around the hospitals.”
He deferred giving the “all clear” to return to the city to the S.C. Emergency Management Division and Gov. Nikki Haley, stressing that city officials can’t make a call for the condition of the roads that connect to the city.
11:21 a.m.: Trees and power lines down in Sumter
The Sumter Police Department has received continued reports of downed trees and power lines, it tweeted Saturday morning.
The department urged residents to stay indoors.
11 a.m. Hurricane Matthew makes landfall
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center announced in its 11 a.m. bulletin.
The eye of the hurricane came ashore southeast of McClellanville, a small town between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, and a “serious inland flooding event” is unfolding, the bulletin said.
The center predicts the hurricane’s eye to “continue to move near or over the coast of South Carolina today, and be near the coast of southern North Carolina by tonight.”
11 a.m.: Ocean water rushing into Garden City
By 11 a.m. Saturday, Hurricane Matthew had sent ocean water over the causeway to coastal Garden City and police were ordering any remaining onlookers to leave the oceanfront.
Waves crashed against seawalls, and the ocean water had flooded the main oceanfront street.
Murrells Inlet, across the creek from Garden Street, also was taking on water.
Dan Russell, who drove to the Murrells Inlet waterfront to watch the storm Saturday morning, said the high water was amazing. He had evacuated from his Murrells Inlet home but returned Saturday to watch the storm.
“As long as you can respect Mother Nature, you know what you can and can’t do,” he said, before a Georgetown County sheriff’s deputy ordered him to leave the area.
10 a.m. Hundreds of thousands without power
More than 437,000 South Carolinians were without power Saturday morning, Gov. Nikki Haley said at her 10 a.m. news conference.
And S.C. officials continued to warn about a storm surge in coastal areas and urged Lowcountry evacuees not to return home until officials deem it safe.
The hurricane was just off Charleston at mid-morning, where rainfalls ranged between 5 and 10 inches total.
A tidal gauge on Charleston Harbor reached a high of more than nine feet above the mean measurement.
“That’s the third-highest ever recorded,” said meteorologist Bob Bright at the National Weather Service office in Charleston. “(Hurricane) Hugo was three feet higher than what we had today.”
Hurricane Matthew’s western eyewall, containing hurricane-force winds, will spread upwards during the day.
A high wind speed of 88 mph was recorded at Hilton Head airport, and 52 mph winds were recorded at the Charleston airport shortly after midnight.
Strong winds rendered the part of Interstate 95 impassable overnight, as downed trees blocked traffic in both directions in the lower part of the state near Savannah.
Several Midlands counties are under a wind advisory until 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The National Weather Service in Columbia reported winds of 46 mph at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport at 7 a.m. Saturday, and a high of 59 mph at Shaw Air Force Base.
In Richland County, Sheriff Leon Lott said the worst-hit areas are from Leesburg Road south into Lower Richland, where trees are down and large areas are without power. He knew of no fallen structures, despite some media reports to the contrary.
Rainfall for the Columbia area totaled 2.7 inches since 9 a.m. Friday. The highest rainfall total for the Midlands was reported in Clarendon County at 7.7 inches.
A tornado that began swirling offshore in North Myrtle Beach as a water spout touched down in North Myrtle Beach between 18th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard.
One house lost its roof, one home suffered roof damage, and a couple of others sustained some minor siding loss, according to Pat Dowling, North Myrtle Beach city spokesman.
The roof was lying partly on top of the owner’s boat in his front yard.
A couple of light poles may also be down as a result of the storm, Dowling said.
Some information indicated the tornado lifted up and touched down again around 11th Avenue North, but Dowling said he had not received a confirmation on that.
Downed trees made a path through Hillside Drive with some fencing knocked down.
It also appears The Surf Golf and Beach Club at 1701 Springland Lane may have suffered tornado damage as well.
In the Midlands, the biggest problems involved power outages. About 57,000 residents of Richland and Lexington counties were without power because of outages as of 9 a.m.
In Georgetown, tree leaves and small limbs littered roads and water associated with rain Friday and Saturday made some of the downtown streets impassable.
9:29 a.m. Litchfield Beach takes a beating
The oceanfront at Litchfield Beach was taking a beating Saturday morning from Hurricane Matthew. High waves were eating into the dunes as gale force winds whipped the deserted beach.
Coyt Duke, 28, said he stayed at his home off the beachfront during the storm. But he said he was worried that the area might flood at high tide Saturday afternoon. The water level in marsh creeks was unusually high well before high tide, he said.
A surfer, Duke said the waves at Litchfield also were too high for him to risk.
“I surfed a couple of days ago, but this is way out of my wheelhouse,” he said after walking to the beach Saturday morning and looking at the relentless crashing waves. “I know where to draw the line”
Access to nearby Pawleys Island was closed Saturday. A local police officer denied the media entry Saturday morning.
9:27 a.m.: No overnight injuries in Charleston
Meanwhile in Charleston, no injuries were reported overnight from the residents who chose to ride out the storm in their homes, said Jack O’Toole, city spokesman. A few cars got stuck in standing water, but the drivers were not injured, he said.
With the eye of Hurricane Matthew sitting right off the coast of Charleston Harbor, winds grew stronger Saturday morning. The Charleston office of the National Weather Service warned residents to not venture outside, because life-threatening surge and dangerous fresh water flooding continued.
“We cannot stress enough that no one should venture outside until conditions improve from southwest to northeast this afternoon,” National Weather Service warned.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg cautioned Friday night dangerous conditions don’t end for the Holy City when the eye of the hurricane moves away. Outer bands of Hurricane Matthew will still continue to bring rain and storm surge. Those effects will be exacerbated by the high tide expected around 1 p.m.
Charleston officials are expected to hold a news conference to update residents on the conditions of the city later this morning.